La Güera and The Semiotics of Sex

Winterson’s “The Semiotics of Sex” is a commentary on how she and any and all lesbian writers are grouped or linked together purely because of the fact that they are indeed lesbian. She brings to light the way the individuality of these women is stripped purely on the basis of who they love and have sex with. Later, she implies that a good writer can transcend distance and time as well as “…reach beyond the interest of their own sub-group.” (Winterson 109). In the end, she also brings up the beautiful concept that art is a way to be connected to each other as well our free spirit.

“In fact, everything about my upbringing attempted to bleach me of the color I did have.” (Moraga 28) As I read this line, I couldn’t help but parallel this story to my own upbringing. I grew up in Corpus Christi (which my family always jokingly called northern Mexico) with a white father and a half-white, half-Mexican mother. We were very close to my mother’s Mexican side of the family here and I was constantly reminded of the fact I was light-skinned and blonde. In contrast with Moraga, I always tried to embrace the Mexican side of me. Instead of being encouraged, many members of my family laughed and convinced me I shouldn’t try to be close to that part of me. Reading La Güera makes me wonder if maybe the discouraging comments and constant reminders of my white skin and blonde hair were meant to keep me from seeing the oppression, theirs and my own.

Questions:

  • Do you agree with Moraga that we ignore the oppression of others so that we do not have to acknowledge our own?
  • Throughout “The Semiotics of Sex,” Winterson capitalizes certain words that wouldn’t generally be capitalized such as: Queer, Correctness, Consolation, Creation. Why do you think she does this?
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